Forget to remove a water bottle or a tube of sunscreen from your bag before you fly, and you’re likely to hold up the line at airport security. When Robert Richter, 60, of Norwood Park passed his bag through an X-ray machine at O’Hare on Tuesday, the item he failed to leave at home was a loaded, semi-automatic handgun, state prosecutors said.
It’s not an uncommon occurance. State Sen. Donne Trotter (D-Chicago) pleaded guilty Wednesday to trying to bring a gun onto a plane at O'Hare.
According to a Transportation Security Administration website, officials recovered 35 firearms, 26 of them loaded, at security checkpoints around the country last week alone, including one at O’Hare, among many other prohibited items that could be used as weapons.
It is legal to fly with a registered firearm, but passengers must check the item in their luggage and declare it to their airline first.
Richter’s bond was set at $2,500 after he appeared in Cook County Criminal Courthouse on Wednesday afternoon. According to the police report, he told officers that, “there’s a gun in there and it’s a .32 [caliber] and I forgot it was there.” The magazine was fully loaded with seven live rounds, the report said.
Richter’s attorney, Patrick Mayerbock, described Richter as a “business leader and a family man,” in court.
“This is an individual who takes responsibility for his actions,” he said.
Richter, a consultant, was granted permission to travel for work between April 25 and 26.
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